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Jumbo Package: Saban pleased with his team, on the field and off

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Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

Vrbo Citrus Bowl - Michigan v Alabama Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Happy Thursday, everyone. Saban spoke with media after yesterday’s practice, and this is the soundbite that got most of the attention.

“I talked to the players about these types of things and I listened and I listened to learn. And I think it’s not just about me or what I think necessarily but also supporting them in a positive way in terms of what their views are. The concepts that they support, I don’t think they’ve ever come out and said they support any organization, good, bad or indifferent. They support concepts of things that can be done in the future and we’re not letting this die.

Saban tries to pretend that he pays little attention to things other than football, even claiming not to know that it was election day back in 2016. That’s just his way of keeping the conversations focused on the topics he wishes to discuss, of course. He is keenly aware of the way some folks try to connect anyone speaking out about racial justice in this moment to one particular organization, and he rejects it. The message from his team has been about unity, and Alabama fans should be impressed with the way the players have stuck together.

Saban also seems pleased with the WR group as a whole, and when asked about Evan Neal had glowing things to say.

Najee Harris posted his first Heisman campaign video.

You know we’re rooting for it, Najee.

Bill Connelly released his preseason SP+ rankings, and Alabama leads all teams that are playing fall football.

While this is destined to be the strangest season in the lifetime of anyone under 75 (respect to anyone old enough to recall the oddity of the 1945 season), it could still actually be a season. So let’s project it.

What follows are updated 2020 (or shall we say, 2020-21) SP+ ratings. They are based on the same factors as the February projections — returning production, recent history and recruiting — and they are updated for all transfers and opt-outs as of the afternoon of Aug. 31.

Well, everyone who is playing fall football as of now, anyway. There are rumors that the Big Ten could reverse course and play football as early as October now. Nebraska parents got a favorable court ruling just yesterday, requiring the conference to produce more documentation of the vote and rationale.

Stay tuned.

You get two hours of College GameDay this weekend whether you requested it or not.

ESPN’s main vehicle, “College GameDay Built by The Home Depot” will kick off the season this Saturday, Sept. 5, at 10 a.m. (11 a.m. EST), with a special two-hour preview show. Host Rece Davis will be live from ESPN’s Bristol, Conn., studios, while analysts Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard and David Pollack will be live from remote locations. Maria Taylor will also contribute to the program.

The destination of GameDay’s first road trip of the 2020 season, set for Sept. 12, will be announced during the show.

I can’t imagine that ratings will be high for that one, but I was wrong once before.

Hey, Carson Tinker got signed again!

Good luck in New York, Carson.

Bradley Bozeman and his wife are feeding the poor during the pandemic.

“But there is a big connection between what we are doing now, and the schools because usually a lot of kids would be getting meals through the schools, and with things going virtual they aren’t able to get it anymore. And food insecurity is such a big issue and we want to make sure as many kids as possible get meals and families can stay fed and healthy and we want to help out any way we can.”

Conversations about how to pivot their charity work, which began about a month after they returned from their RV tour, had turned into action. The pandemic had reshaped what they could do, directly, themselves (the Bozemans are strictly adhering to the NFL’s edict for players and spouses to avoid any gatherings of 10 people or more and to try to keep contact with others to a minimum in an attempt to avoid the Covid outbreaks that have derailed the MLB season). But the impact they were having on some of Baltimore’s neediest families continued.

Couldn’t be more proud of you, Bradley.

Last, you probably heard that Jamie Newman opted out over at Georgia.

Yeah, they are looking at a redshirt freshman in D’wan Mathis or a guy in J.T. Daniels who is coming off a major ACL injury and hasn’t played a game in more than a year. Good luck with that.

That’s about it for now. Saban’s presser is below for you, as usual. Have a great day.

Roll Tide.